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Thursday, April 20, 2017

How Going Digital Changed Me as a Teacher


For nine years of my teaching career, I was a traditional teacher teaching in the primary grades the best that I knew. I focused greatly on the core subjects, especially reading and writing. I used traditional best practices and employed technology the best I knew, and honestly, I felt that I was doing a pretty good job.  A streaming video here and a phonics website there during Guided Reading and I thought, "Hey, I'm integrating technology into my instruction just fine!" 

That was until I moved across town, switched districts, and found myself on a campus whose main focus is science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and where each students has his/her own digital device to use in the classroom and take home.

Well you see, I've always thought of myself being very techie in a sense that I have always been surrounded my computers and technology since I was a kid.  But truly, nothing prepared me for what was coming my way and how educational apps and technology flipped my classroom and instruction.

At first, I must admit, I was skeptical and resistant.  I was taught the traditional methods and in a traditional school setting for a long time.  My students did wonderful, and I knew that when I sent them off to the next grade, I had done my best to prepare them the best I could. Furthermore, isn't perfecting fine motor skills and building stamina to write with paper and pencil important anymore in the 21st Century? 

And so I did some deep teacher-soul digging into what kind of students I want to prepare for this century and what kind of students and citizens I want my OWN children to be when they start school? The more I thought about my methods, the more I knew that embracing both the traditional and 21st Century methods of teaching was the way and only way to go.

Slowly I began using various apps to enhance my students' learning and understanding.  I also found how feasible, time-saving, and easy it was for me as a teacher to share assignments and activities with my students and how interactive it can be for them!



My students were still learning those core concepts along with the mandatory standards, yet the thinking was deeper, the understanding was widened, and the connections were more meaningful than I had ever seen in the primary grades. From integrating videos and links into documents to allowing students to digitally praise and give constructive feedback to each other's work, my classroom truly became a community of learners immersed a new digital world.




Furthermore, the engagement was clearly visible and the learning became more personal as students were given more options and opportunities to personalize their own learning and understanding.

Once I saw the benefits of a digital classroom, I began creating digital notebooks to enhance my students' learning.  The first time I showed my students our first digital notebook, they were so incredibly excited and could not wait to get started.  I watched them as we went through the lessons together and saw how well they connected to the learning and proud of their own work.



As an educator, I will always find value and appreciation in traditional methods of teaching.  However, going digital has allowed me to transform my teaching style to best fit my students' needs, and that is the greatest reward of all.

Here's an example of how students are able to respond digitally.




If you would like a list of FREE Apps that I use in my classroom. Click to the apple image.

If you are interested in Interactive Digital Notebooks that are perfect for the primary classroom, feel free to check out my Memorial Day Interactive Digital Notebook FREEBIE below!



Additional Interactive Digital Notebooks:


 




        
    



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